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The GSA MAS Consolidation: Catalyst for Change in GovCon

Posted By Courtney Fairchild, President & Co-Founder, Global Services; WIPP Vice Chair, Wednesday, December 25, 2019
Updated: Monday, December 23, 2019

On October 1, 2019, GSA released their much anticipated Consolidated Schedule. The GSA Schedules Program, which previously included 24 Schedules, is now an overarching Solicitation (#47QSMD20R0001, Refresh #0000) with 12 Large Categories/various Subcategories. 


Courtney Fairchild

When consolidating all 24 Schedules into one, GSA selected the list of major contenders (the Government’s most purchased goods/services) and divided them into Large Categories, which resemble GSA’s Category Management Initiative. Within each Large Category, complementary services/products are further divided into subcategories, and these subcategories are further broken down into Special Item Numbers (SINs). For those of you who have had a contract for years these changes can be overwhelming, but I’m here to break it down for you.


Firstly, goodbye random SIN Numbers, hello NAICS-forward SINs! Up till now, understanding the GSA Schedules meant learning a complicated and arbitrary set of SIN numbers and descriptions. Under the new solicitation, GSA reworked the SIN numbers to align with the much more familiar NAICS code system. Under the legacy solicitation, for example, one just had to know that Perpetual Software Licenses was SIN 132-33, with a NAICS code of 511210. Now, the Software Licenses SIN is just 511210. 

 

 For the most part, there’s a clear, one-to-one correspondence like this between the old and new SINs. For those mappings that aren’t so clear, keep an eye out for GSA’s updated Old SIN vs. New SIN Crosswalk to decipher which SIN numbers you are proposing this go around. 

 

Want to know more?

View the free ChallengeHER on-demand webinar from Courtney Fairchild


Secondly, GSA has broadened past performance options! Previously, contractors had to demonstrate successful past performance by purchasing an Open Ratings, Inc. Report. For companies with pre-existing Performance Assessment Reporting System (CPARS), the Open Ratings requirement was redundant—why get a new report when the Government already has documentation of your performance? GSA listened: now, a Schedule offer requires three or more CPARs, if you have them. And while the Consolidated Schedule solicitation still allows for Open Ratings Reports, as of December 6, 2019, Open Ratings is no longer accepting new orders. If you have an existing, valid Open Ratings Report already, you may use it. Otherwise, offerors who cannot demonstrate Past Performance via CPARs will instead need to provide a Past Performance Narrative containing brief project descriptions and points of contact. 


Thirdly, what happens in the legacy program, stays in the legacy program. Previously, any rejected submission had to be provided and narratively addressed during the next submission attempt. Contractors are now no longer required to disclose pending, current, or rejected submissions. 


Lastly, most submissions now only require only one Relevant Project Experience narrative per proposed SIN, EXCEPT the Large Category IT, which requires two. (Note: some IT Subcategories also have additional requirements beyond that—always check the SIN’s requirements!). Under the legacy solicitation, contractors had to provide anywhere from one to three projects, depending on which Schedule and SIN they were pursuing. This made it hard for younger companies without a long history of Project Experience to get on Schedule. 


I am very excited to see how GSA has listened to stakeholder feedback in this endeavor. I believe this new MAS Solicitation will make the submission process more readily available for industry partners and more user-friendly for government buyers. And with less redundancy and confusion, contractors will see more benefit in getting on Schedule. Change is good.

Tags:  federal contracting  Federal Procurement  Federal Procurement Opportunities 

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